There’s nothing like making a meal that sounds luxurious, but is actually simple and cheap to create.
When a comforting meal that tastes like home is needed, chicken, broccoli and cheese make for a perfect combination. There’s just something about a meal that seems so simple yet tastes so luxurious that it makes you feel loved and relaxed, the way that a good casserole should.
One of the most classic ways to get that taste is with chicken divan, a quintessential American casserole that’s existed since the 1930s. Back then, it was a great way to stretch a dollar for the entire family to eat as cheaply as possible. Now, it’s an excellent way to get the family to enjoy their vegetables — and minimize clean-up time.
What Is a Divan?
You might be surprised to learn that a divan actually has nothing to do with the name of this dish. The word divan is a meeting place or great hall in French, but the dish itself comes from Divan Parisienne Restaurant in New York. The chef who created it was Anthony Lagasi, and legend says that he chose the name in order to impress his bosses by giving them a signature dish that brought up images of luxurious eating.
Of course, the dish only sounds fancy compared to what it is that’s actually in the dish. The only truly fancy part of chicken divan is the Mornay sauce that provides the creamy texture and adds that extra bit of cheese to make the casserole stand out. Otherwise, it’s mostly ingredients that people would have on hand, intended to maximize the dollars that people could spend in a difficult financial period.
What Is A Mornay Sauce?
A Mornay sauce stems from a bechamel sauce, which is one of the five mother sauces that exist in French cuisine. Essentially, it’s a bechamel sauce that has a kind of cheese mixed into it, usually Gruyere. Other cheeses can be used, as long as they melt properly and get incorporated into the sauce.
Are Other Vegetables Used?
Almost never. Broccoli’s flavors work beautifully with a cheese sauce, meaning that it really doesn’t need anything in the way of other vegetables to maximize its flavors. As long as the broccoli is cooked until it’s crisp and tender, it should be perfectly fine for combining with the chicken and creating a taste that really feels like home. If you do want to add other vegetables, you can, but be advised that it’s really not needed in this case. The broccoli, chicken and Mornay sauce should be more than enough to create the perfect combination of flavor.
How Do I Make Broccoli Chicken Divan?
The first thing you’ll need to do is cook your chicken, if it’s not cooked already. This dish is fantastic to make after having leftovers from a rotisserie chicken, because the meat will have already been cooked properly the day before, allowing you to skip a step and still have incredible chicken when it’s done cooking.
In either case, you’ll need to steam the broccoli so that it’s crisp-tender when it comes out of the basket. You don’t want it to cook too long, however, because it still needs to go in the oven. Cover the broccoli and chicken with condensed soup, preferably broccoli cheese or a similar soup. Mix in your cheese and milk and then press into a casserole dish or pie plate, baking until it’s done. All you’ve got to do then is serve your creation.
Chicken divan might sound like it takes all day to make, but in reality, it’s a simple dish that only tastes like it took all day to make. If you’re looking to use up some leftovers and craft a new taste., this is a great way to do it.